- Holy Hippocampus:A Conversation in Couplets
The human brain stores a million gigabytes of memory, so why is itI can’t recall where I plunked down my keys or orange flash drive?
If only I could access the words of Proust I read at twenty or whatyou said yesterday about how to treat a cold—was it frankincense?
Frank remembers you so clearly but you can’t access his face evenlooking at his picture. High school classmates, grade school teachers:
a blur! I’ve always wanted to tell you that my mother with Alzheimer’srecalled her Carteret childhood in encyclopedic detail—but that was it.
Did she forget being a mother and your childhood? I love reimaginedretro postcards: I left my baby on the bus! Or I forgot to have children.
That’s my Mom! Unable to spell the world backward by fifty-five. d-lr-o-w. They say the brain alters a memory simply by remembering it.
That is why I remember my second-grade accordion as goldbut in pictures it is maroon. In one my hair has a green tint—impossible,
or ahead of your time, as always! They also say our short-term memoryholds only seven pieces of information at a time. Holy Hippocampus!
Number 8: Where did I park my car? nudges out Conan O’Brien’s punchline and whether or not I turned off the coffee pot. My remote key beeps, [End Page 93]
but the kid who insisted on pushing my grocery cart is telling me wherehe snowshoes (9), my cell’s ringing in the surreal distance of some pocket
in my jacket or purse or reusable tote and I fear someone I loveis in trouble—an accident, a broken heart, a bounced check. Hello?
My brain needs an upgrade. Higher resolution for those mistywatercolored tidbits that pixilate rebelliously as I furrow my brow.
What I do remember is Bert’s chalk sidewalk drawing turninginto a painting when it rained. Or was it Mary Poppins’ magic?
I know you’re not thinking I’d remember a movie I only saw five times,are you? What about that annoying link between memory and hormones?
Or that stress kills memory cells? I read that doing certain taskscan stimulate the growth of brain cells, but I can’t remember which tasks.
Well, we’re both good at math! Today I read that it takes the brain 80milliseconds to process info. For that time we’re actually living in the past. [End Page 94]
Maureen Seaton has authored numerous poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—most recently, with Denise Duhamel: Caprice: Collected, Uncol-lected, and New Collaborations (Sibling Rivalry Press). She currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami.
Denise Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry is Scald (Pittsburgh). Blowout (Pittsburgh) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh); Two and Two (Pittsburgh); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois up); and Kinky (Orhisis). She and Maureen Seaton co-authored Caprice: Collected, Uncollected, and New Collaborations (Sibling Rivalry Press). Duhamel is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the nea. The guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.